LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Alexa Meade attends Refinery29's '29Rooms Los Angeles: Turn It Into Art' on December 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Refinery29 )
Los Angeles is a city with its share of passing pop-ups – and we love them. We sell out runs, wait in line, and flood our friend’s Instagram feeds with the same photos they’ve seen a hundred times over. While fun, whimsical, and often sweeping over us like a tight-fisted zeitgeist, most pop-ups don’t particularly make you feel anything.
29Rooms is the exception.
Refinery 29 bills the event as an “immersive storytelling experience built for discovery and impact.” Partnering with an impressive roster of celebrities, artists, and organizations, the theme “Turn It Into Art” is not only a sensory storm, but a funhouse that encourages both action and reflection. The 29 tableaus are presented without any inherent hierarchy, encouraging you to literally wander with your will. You’re not shuffled along in a queue to see. snap. repeat, but rather given freedom to explore uncaged.
Many rooms are built with an understanding that even an alternate universe is not created in a void. The cultural and political climate was incorporated not in a cloud of doom and gloom, but in uplifting, hopeful ways of enacting change – BRIGHT FUTURE is a sculpture that spells out “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” and highlights the importance of providing quality healthcare; GENDER NEUTRAL is a safe and secure aqua-hued bathroom with poetic recordings of gender awareness; HEAR OUR VOICE in collaboration with the Women’s March offers custom postcards and a directory to write to your congressmen.
There are moments of affirmation – climb into the plush enclosure of THE WOMB and re-enter the world with more love to give. Take a spin through the LAUGH-O-MATIC (a laughter carwash) to be fed through neon foam washers and emerge drenched in laughter and bubbles. Hit up Demi Lovato’s POWER PARLOR for an airbrushed tattoo to show off overcoming that which has scarred you, or take your place on the winner’s podium of THE TROPHY ROOM to claim your gold.
If you’re looking to get your aesthetic fix, there’s plenty that provides a frame – lay down in a field of Marc Jacob’s daisies, race through a Technicolor dreamland with Toyota, hit up glitter-laden portraits with Urban Decay Cosmetics. Make sure to visit BECOME THE MASTERPIECE where an outfit is provided to become the art on a ready-canvas backdrop. These and so many more will have your ‘gram covered.
Like a welcomed haunting, several rooms pack lasting impact. In the DREAMER’S DEN, littered with purple light and stars, Darby Walker will take your written dream and channel it into an ethereal siren’s song, cooing into a microphone like a timeless speakeasy songstress giving tune to what was previously only in your own mind. FAIR GROUNDS ignites dormant childhood curiosity and operates as a space of pure play – slide, swing, see-saw and all – because when was the last time you played. In WHAT’S YOUR FREQUENCY, you find yourself besides a surreal army of surveillance. As you explore, you are also being watched, recorded, and transmitted. In this modern war of technology, you emerge encouraged to take creative control of others’ gaze.
29 Rooms LA takes place over two weekends, December 7-10 and December 14-17. If you’re looking to score tickets, we’re sorry to report that the run has sold out. Cozy up to a friend that may have extras, and do not miss out on this one of a kind experience.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images for Refinery 29